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Digital Subscriptions > F1 Racing > February 2017 > “That’s motor racing”

“That’s motor racing”

Over the course of 50 years on the front line of F1, Ron Dennis evolved a simple three-word catchphrase that encapsulates, with exquisite clarity, our favourite sport’s rich tapestry of soaring competitive success and dispiritingly dismal quirks of fate: “That’s motor racing.” Now, as Ron departs McLaren’s top job, we celebrate five decades of highs and lows for Formula 1’s most successful team leader
PHOTOS: LAT IMAGES; SUTTON IMAGES; NILS JORGENSEN/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

FROM BOLTER TO RUNNING THE SHOP

Ron Dennis was a teenager, working as a mechanic for Cooper while studying for a qualification in motor vehicle technology, when he was picked to work on the team’s third car at the 1966 Mexican Grand Prix. Eyes opened to the magic of motorsport, he earned key allies through his meticulous approach: when Jochen Rindt moved from Cooper to Brabham, he took Ron with him. Dennis’s next move was to try his hand at running a team of his own. It was a bumpy ride in the 1970s, but he built up credibility and, in 1980, his sponsor, Marlboro, engineered a merger between his Project 4 team and the ailing McLaren organisation.

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About F1 Racing

F1 2017 STARTS HERE This season’s new machinery will be better to look at and faster and more physical to drive, testing drivers’ skills as never before. But have all the implications of the changes been fully anticipated? Was the sport really so broken that it required such a massive ‘fix’? And what changes are F1’s new owners planning to make, assuming they get to buy it at all?